From A Burden Into A Gift

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from a burden into a gift

What would I say to the younger me? … Life is a gift, not a burden or chance, but a depiction of God’s grace and faithfulness in the good times and bad.

 

Living with challenges, whether physical, emotional, or mental, no matter the magnitude is never easy. They affect each individual differently, and in the world’s eyes can often dictate what a person should and should not be able to achieve or become in life. You see, I was born with Cerebral Palsy, a neuromuscular condition that affects muscle tone, movement, gait, balance, and stamina,  Growing up, I had many friends; people who I could always count on to lend a helping hand whenever I needed. They saw me for who I am and what I stand for and treated me like nothing was wrong.

 

When I was in late elementary school entering into middle school, things started to take a turn. The people who I had grown up with all my life started to point out my differences and make fun of me just because I walked differently. I didn’t understand why it mattered so much. My parents always told me that God had a plan and purpose for my life, but it was through my peers and verbal abuse of a teacher, that I began to wonder how I was going to make an impact for Christ in the world around me. I began to see my physical challenge as a burden. 

 

If you would have asked the younger me what I thought about having Cerebral Palsy, I would have told you that I didn’t want it, and that I wanted to fit in and just be normal. What I didn’t realize is that having challenges allows you to be set apart, and stand out, which is what God has called us to do as believers. What would the benefit be if we were all exactly alike? How would we effectively share the Gospel with the world if we didn’t stand out? Our individual uniqueness is a special gift. 

 

Throughout my life, many people have prayed over me and with me to receive my complete healing. I appreciate those continued prayers, because I would not be here today without them. It is God’s will to heal His children, but healings happen in many different ways, and may not manifest in the exact way that we envision. Time and time again, I have surrendered my condition to God, asking for His will to be done in my life, whatever it looks like. In addition, I have prayed fervently, asking Him why my complete healing hasn’t happened. 

 

Over the course of the last seven years, God has revealed to me that He HAS healed me through Cerebral Palsy, and that He is using my condition as a tool to minister to others. He also told me that my condition is a beautiful gift. When I received this revelation, it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders, and my mind was completely transformed. I now walk in an overwhelming sense of freedom on a daily basis! Through all that I have encountered, I have learned that we are not meant to carry troubles and circumstances on our own, but that God walks right beside us, and wants to carry our burdens for us. 

 

God is not the author of pain and sickness, but when we surrender our challenges to Him, He will use them in mighty ways, for our good and His glory. Pastor Steven Furtick once said, “It is not the size of your challenge, but your view of it that determines your victory!” Therefore, I am willing to walk out my calling in the Christian Music industry, and point people to Him under the affliction I bear. Challenges draw us closer to our Creator and make us rely on Him for everything. It is God’s desire for us to NEVER BE ASHAMED OF OUR CHALLENGES; FOR THEY ARE A BEAUTIFUL CROSS THAT HE HAS GIVEN EACH ONE OF US TO CARRY AND USE TO IMPACT OTHERS. We are not defined by our circumstances, but are defined through Christ, and can do anything with His strength! 

 

When we allow God into every area of our lives, He turns our challenges FROM A BURDEN INTO A GIFT. My body may be broken, but I stand before you today, and I can confidently say that I couldn’t imagine living my life without Cerebral Palsy.

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